After a nearly two-year absence from the streets of Oakdale, the familiar rumble of a Harley Davidson Electra-glide Police Package motorcycle will be heard again as Officer Rockford ‘Rocky’ Anderson hits the streets as part of the police department’s rejuvenated Traffic Division.
Anderson, a six-year veteran of the department, recently completed an 80-hour emergency vehicle operation course sponsored by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department tailored specifically for riding motorcycles.
“The bike is much more mobile than an automobile,” Anderson said about the motorcycle that weighs over 900 pounds. “We learned tactical advantages to the bike on traffic stops as well as how to maneuver through a variety of different surfaces including sidewalks, stairs, and other confined spaces.”
With two State highways winding through town, 120 and 108, Oakdale has high levels of traffic congestion and the amount of vehicles, including bicycles and pedestrians, using the roadways have contributed to an increase in traffic collisions and concerns about pedestrian safety.
Anderson said when it comes to the welfare of the citizens, the city experiences more major accidents with injuries and traffic fatalities than it does in crimes such as aggravated batteries and homicides.
“Oakdale PD is a life-saving organization,” Anderson said. “Whether it’s injuries or death, if there’s something we can do to prevent and educate the public, we can do that.”
Prior to the motorcycle school, Anderson had received several hours of specialized training in traffic accident investigation to enhance his skills.
While some of his new duties include education and assisting with some traffic planning, enforcement plays a big role also.
“We don’t ticket to punish,” Anderson said. “Stats show warnings don’t work. The issuing of cites (citations) allows us to track traffic data better in the city.”
Anderson added that simple traffic violations such as speeding, running a stop sign or signal, or distracted driving are the leading causes of traffic accidents in the city.
As part of the assignment Anderson will partner in the Stanislaus County CITE Team, a joint agency operation of city traffic units deployed once a month to a chosen city in Stanislaus County to provide traffic safety as well as work in the “Avoid the 12” DUI Enforcement Unit. The Avoid the 12 Unit also goes to a chosen city and apprehends drivers who are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Anderson said he was looking forward to his new assignment.
“I’ve been working graves (shift) chasing bad guys for years now,” Anderson said. “This assignment is an opportunity to actually save lives and make a difference.”